Double Happiness: How Alex married Fei, and became a wedding planner in Qingdao, China

Canadian Alex calls it destiny. She went to China in June 2010 as an exchange student, never realizing she would leave her heart in Qingdao — and end up becoming a wedding planner together with her husband, Fei.

Today, they run H-Flower together in Qingdao, and their story is as beautiful as the designs they create for weddings and more. Even better, Alex shares her how-we-met-and-married tale in two languages — and has graciously provided a video starring the two of them (with subtitles in English and Chinese). In addition to their company website, you can also follow Alex and Fei’s company on Weibo.

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Our hometowns share an ocean, but are on different continents. We both celebrate a new year, but at a different time. We both have parents, but only one of us has siblings.

I can tell the story of how Fei and I met in two languages. This type of meeting is called 缘分 (yuanfen) which depicts that by fate or destiny two people come together.

Like most foreigners here I began my journey as an exchange student in June 2010. At the same time Fei agreed to help his friend by teaching a class on Business in China. Fei studied and lived in Dublin, Ireland for nine years. When we met it was not in Canada, it was not in Ireland, nor was it in Fei’s hometown Qingdao (青岛). We met in a small suburb outside the city, in an old classroom on the 6th floor.

In class we exchanged cards and arranged to meet later on. We went with several friends for a dinner of roast duck, which led to night market shopping, and further an intimate pot of blue mountain coffee shared between the two of us. After coffee I followed like a puppy to watch a football match in a pub even though I had never been a fan.

Fei

The next day I left to Xi’an. It was painful leaving but the Terracotta warriors, Yangzte River, and Wuhan Dam all distracted me for a little while. As I traveled throughout China we kept in contact every day via text message. Through these short but meaningful first messages we subtly developed our relationship.

We met in a classroom, bonded over coffee, and spent only one week together in Qingdao, China before I had to fly home to Canada. Over the distance our relationship grew closer and commitment solidified.

Today we work side-by-side creating weddings and events here in Qingdao. Everyday we share a cup of coffee together, we make jokes and laugh in both languages, and when I am not at home working we are often crazily texting each other about some little wedding detail or color combination.

Alex, doing a floral arrangement for a wedding.

It feels surreal to think that my small exchange student opportunity has opened up this entire new world. I am fluent in Chinese, married to a wonderful husband, and we are both building our careers and future together everyday.

It’s quite complicated how we came to be in the wedding industry. After we were engaged we of course began to think about how to arrange and coordinate an international wedding party. We also went to check out a few of the local wedding planners (婚庆公司). At first I saw their weddings and just didn’t really understand how there was such a huge T-shaped stage, many different colored lights, and aisle decorations that were nearly touching the ceiling? I thought to myself this isn’t the wedding that I imagined and just doesn’t feel right.

So after some trials and tribulations and meeting the right people, in May 2011 we had our first wedding client (a friend of a friend of course). Our first wedding was an amazing (and frustrating) learning experience about the different between Western and Chinese style weddings. I learned very quickly that creating hand-made seating arrangements for 300+ people just do not work!

One year later I had the chance to design and create our own wedding. I wanted to give my Chinese family and friends the experience of what a western style wedding is like. We were married by the sea, in the yard of a 100 year old building, we ate delicious steak and drank wine, we danced, we ate cake, and we drank some more. It was the best day of my life and Fei agrees it was his too.

Our company is growing, we are learning so much everyday and being challenged in every way possible. I feel honored that I can help other brides and grooms create the same wonderful memories that we had after our wedding day.

我来自加拿大的西海岸, 我未婚夫来自中国的东海岸。 我经常会被问到我们相遇的故事,通常我都会用中文和英文一起来描绘这一段。

2010年春天,我当时的大学组织到到青岛的一所合作大学交流学习。我从没有想到过会来到中国,但是还是欣然接收了这为期6周的越洋学习的机会。我未婚夫的朋友当时请他帮忙来这所大学教一节“在中国做生意”的课,用英文。第一次我看见他,第一次听见他的声音,我知道我喜欢他整个人 。

(photo by TANG VISION from Shanghai www.tangvision.com)

他在跟我们讲经济的时候我当时在凝视他的眼睛… … 之后有一次机会,我们和我的朋友,我们一起去吃饭,然后逛街,一直到只剩我们两个人的一壶醉人的蓝山咖啡。那天晚上,我就高兴的跟着他去看足球比赛(世界杯),在那之前我从来不看足球比赛,但是突然间我发觉紧张的被这项运动吸引了。

那天晚上,Fei送我回到我朋友的楼下,第二天我就要去西安旅行了,一去就是十天。刚刚遇到他就要离开让我很舍不得。 当我游览中国的名胜古迹(也是最热的城市)的时候我们每天都不断的互发短信。 当时我还不确定他对我的感觉,直到当我收到一条消息,说,“我想你”。那个时候我就想马上回到青岛!

我们在教室里遇到,一壶咖啡让我们靠近,在我回加拿大之前我们在一起短短的一周时间。当时的我不知道我们之间会发生什么但是我有强烈的愿望要回来。我们各自恢复了正常的生活,我回到了学校,Fei开始了一家公司(每天我们都用Skype和QQ在网上见面。随着时间过去我们的感情也成长了,秋天的时候,我们彼此知道心里只有对方。现在的我坐在这里看着我手指上美丽的订婚戒指,其他的都仿佛是历史了。

Alex lives with her husband Fei in Qingdao, China, where she is the executive designer, florist and stylist for H-Flower.

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We’re looking for a few good stories from Chinese men and Western women in love — or out of love — to share on Fridays. Submit your original story or a published blog post today.

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16 thoughts on “Double Happiness: How Alex married Fei, and became a wedding planner in Qingdao, China

  • December 20, 2013 at 9:36 am
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    恭喜, 恭喜! BTW, you speak Mandarin like a native! And you guys look gorgeous!

    “Rasa Sayang” is a popular Malay folk song we also love to hum along to when we camp out in a group or are in a “loving feeling” mood, so to speak.

    Below’s a link to a translation of Rasa Sayang

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rasa_Sayang

    Reply
  • December 20, 2013 at 10:09 am
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    I saw their video few months ago and made me cry, I like the way they talk, soft and kind.
    Wish you all the best!

    Reply
  • December 20, 2013 at 10:53 am
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    I love this story. They’re a beautiful couple. Laura is right about the soft, kind way they talk. Watching the video and listening to them talk made me feel totally relaxed and wishing I were a wedding planner. It looks like so much fun.

    Reply
  • December 20, 2013 at 5:48 pm
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    恭贺新婚 ! 祝愿他们幸福!

    She was once my FB friend, and I remembered that once she asked me suggestion about her Husband Fei was facing the situation about how to apply Canadian visa for the first time visit, I was glad that I gave her my own advice I hope it was helpful =) . now they finally made all happen and finally married. its taking long way to get there. But they made it. so congratulation !

    Hope you guys stay happiness.

    Greeting from Yang ( a guy who failed cross culture relationship after 5 years)

    Reply
  • December 21, 2013 at 12:47 pm
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    You look really happy together.

    Reply
  • December 22, 2013 at 10:07 pm
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    Their love story is very romantic and they are such a cute couple! I saw the video some weeks ago and it’s just amazing how they found the business together. I also agree that the photo in front of the old house is beautiful, I would want similar wedding photos taken of us too.

    Reply
  • December 23, 2013 at 4:27 am
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    What a story!

    Exchange student-ship to now marriage. I’d say Alexandra is pretty. Fei is also charismatic.

    If the way a person speaks reflects a little bit of the personality, I’d always love when women speak in a casual, chilling, which is a bit of a turn-on FOR ME.

    Always avoided Jersey type of girl here in US. Their sentences always contain at least F-word.

    Congratulations to Fei and Alexandra.

    Why it’s so good looking when western women wear a qipao?

    Reply
  • December 23, 2013 at 10:00 am
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    I don’t want to sound bitchy but I’m jealous of her beautiful wedding photos 🙂
    lovely story, I almost cried watching that video

    Reply
  • December 25, 2013 at 2:50 am
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    And to everyone Happy Holidays!

    Reply
  • August 16, 2015 at 1:02 pm
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    Nice story. One thing I don’t understand that she went to China, followed a Chinese man wherever he took her, and eventually married him, and had a wedding in China but introduced a western wedding because she didn’t like Chinese wedding. She thinks western wedding is better than Chinese wedding. Huh? I saw her story on TV. Her story sounds like Chinese tradition is inferior to her western tradition whatever that be. If that is the case, why doesn’t she marry a man of her own kind without worry her other half’s tradition but hers?

    Chinese men in China should be careful with this kind of foreign girl.

    Reply
  • August 16, 2015 at 1:13 pm
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    Annette,

    What Alex did is called finding a niche market.

    Reply
    • August 16, 2015 at 3:17 pm
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      Yes, Annette, as Laura says, she and her husband found a market. There is a huge demand in China for more Western-style weddings. They are simply providing a service that couples want; it’s not in any way demeaning Chinese traditions.

      Reply
  • Pingback:Guest Post: I Got Divorced in China, and What Happened in My Marriage Is More Common Than You Realize | Speaking of China

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